Blind spots

An indiscriminate but interesting view of history

Blind spots

A Little History of Science

by William Bynum

Yale University Press (Inbooks), $32.95 hb, 269 pp, 9780300136593

Did you know that the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space; or that Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) came from India; or that Descartes thought up letters (a, b, c, and x) for use in algebra; or that William Bateson coined the word ‘genetics’? Did you know that there are five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth – give or take a few?Every few pages William Bynum gives you a choice factoid that’s Quite Interesting – as long as you remember to write it down straight away before it fades. Reading this Little History right through is like sitting in a Chinese restaurant with one of those long menus and ordering a portion of everything listed. Quite soon discrimination fades and the march of history seems relentless.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2013 no. 349
Robyn Williams

Robyn Williams

Robyn Williams has presented The Science Show on ABC Radio National since 1975. His last book was Future Perfect (2007) and, before that, Unintelligent Design (2006). He is a visiting professor at several universities.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.